A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 6. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1978.
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The parish of Horseheath, covering 1,922 a., lies at the eastern end of Chilford hundred, and its eastern edge forms part of the county boundary with Suffolk. (fn. 1) The village, centrally placed, is 14 miles south-east of Cambridge and 5 miles west of Haverhill (Suff.). The northern boundary of the parish runs along the straight ancient road known as Wool Street. (fn. 2) The western boundary follows the road from Bartlow to West Wratting along a valley, and the eastern and southern boundaries follow field boundaries, with a detour to the south to include in Horseheath the moated site of Cardinal's Farm.
Horseheath lies on the Upper Chalk where it juts into Cambridgeshire from Essex and Suffolk. The soil at the western end of the parish, where the ground rises from 200 to 300 ft., is chalky, becoming heavier and wetter towards the east, where it lies mostly on boulder clay. Horseheath is the highest parish in the county, lying mostly between 300 and 350 ft. It was once well wooded: there was woodland for 90 pigs in 1086, and 27 a. of demesne woodland were recorded in 1279. Several smaller woods, such as Bower grove and Goodreds wood, survived in the 15th century, (fn. 3) but had mostly been cleared by the 18th. (fn. 4) In 1973 small blocks of woodland, mostly 19th-century plantations, remained around Horseheath Lodge and at Crow (formerly Coat) croft. (fn. 5) Horseheath has been entirely agricultural. Soon after 1800 all its open-field land was in one hand, (fn. 6) so that no formal inclosure award was required.
Traces of Roman occupation have been found near the northern boundary and close to the village. (fn. 7) By 1086 there were 26 tenants and 3 servi at Horseheath. (fn. 8) In 1279 there were 64 messuages and 2 cottages, inhabited by c. 80 tenants. (fn. 9) In 1327 26 people paid the subsidy, and in 1377 121 adults paid the poll tax. (fn. 10) There were only 35 taxpayers in 1524, (fn. 11) and 34 households in 1563. (fn. 12) In 1728 there were 71 families containing 346 people. (fn. 13) In the 19th century the population rose from 342 in 1801 to 508 in 1851, fell slightly, and then increased to a peak of 578 in 1871. After a steady decline it reached the low point of 328 in 1951, and then increased to 376 in 1971. (fn. 14)
The village presumably stood on its modern site by the 14th century when the parish church was built. The church stands 350 yd. north of the Cambridge-Haverhill road, on a winding village street which runs on to Streetley End in West Wickham. East of the village the main road was apparently diverted round the southern edge of Horseheath park, created by the Alington family in the 15th and 16th centuries, and possibly in the village the road once lay further north close to the church. The names Church street, recorded in 1416, (fn. 15) and Netherstreet, of 1449, (fn. 16) probably both referred to the village street. The positions of the surviving 16th- and 17th-century houses suggest that buildings were then concentrated along that street, where 18th-century buildings such as Church Farm are also sited. A fragment of the former village green survives at its south end. There were c. 48 houses under Charles II (fn. 17) and still only 50 dwellings in 1801. (fn. 18) In 1839 there were, besides the farmsteads, two or three houses and 31 cottages, into which 53 households were crowded. (fn. 19) At Sherwood Green, called in 1629 Sherwood End, (fn. 20) eastwards along the main road, several rows of cottages were built in the mid 19th century, one row of five in flint being dated 1838. There were said to be 100 inhabited dwellings in 1851 and 126 in 1871, but by 1901 there were only 93, while 24 stood empty. (fn. 21) In 1913 14 houses had lately been demolished, and of 50 remaining 27 were at Sherwood Green. (fn. 22) In the mid 20th century an influx of residents, caused partly by the expansion of light industry at Haverhill, was made possible by the building of many new houses, mostly detached, in the spaces between the scattered older dwellings. In 19501 twelve new council houses were put up at the southern end of the street. (fn. 23)
In 1768 there was a village alehouse called the Bell. (fn. 24) By 1839 there were two public houses, the Red Lion and, eastwards along the main road, the Montfort Arms. (fn. 25) The Batson Arms at Sherwood Green was opened before 1899. (fn. 26) The Montfort Arms, closed after 1915 and sold in 1923, had by 1929 become a cafe. (fn. 27) The Batson Arms closed between 1961 and 1971, when the Red Lion became a restaurant. (fn. 28)
The village feast was customarily held on 57 June. (fn. 29) In 1904 a parish room, styled the Guildhall, was opened, and included a library by 1910. (fn. 30) It was closed in 1969. (fn. 31) A parish coal and clothing club started c. 1900 was probably the benefit club disbanded in 1912. (fn. 32) Stanlake Batson (d. 1857) trained race-horses, including the Derby winner of 1834, at Horseheath Lodge by the western boundary. (fn. 33) In 1972 part of the old race-course there was reopened for point-to-point races. (fn. 34)
The principal manor at Horseheath in 1086 comprised 2 hides held in demesne by Count Alan as successor since 1066 to Eddeva the fair and two of her sokemen. The count's man Alwin had acquired a yardland held in 1066 by Eddeva's man Godwin. (fn. 35) From the late 12th century the whole estate was held of Alan's honor of Richmond by the Veres, earls of Oxford, (fn. 36) who in turn subinfeudated it. (fn. 37) The Veres retained the overlordship until c. 1600, (fn. 38) and in 1611 it passed as parcel of Castle Camps manor to the Charterhouse, which was still expecting quit-rents from manors in Horseheath in the 18th century. (fn. 39)
The largest Richmond fee, later HORSEHEATH HALL manor, was probably held in 1199 by Walter de Capeles, who had succeeded his father Aubrey in lands granted by Earl Aubrey de Vere (d. 1194). (fn. 40) Walter, whose Cambridgeshire lands were restored to him in 1217 after his rebellion, (fn. 41) held fee at Horseheath c. 1236. (fn. 42) By 1247 Sir Peter of Melling held that manor, apparently in right of his wife Joan. (fn. 43) In 1249 Peter and Joan sold the reversion of 2 carucates there after their deaths to Sir James de Audley, (fn. 44) who had possession by 1259 (fn. 45) and possibly by 1252 when he was granted free warren at Horseheath. (fn. 46) Audley died in 1272 and was succeeded in turn by his sons James (fn. 47) (d. 1273), Henry (d. 1276), and William (d. 1282). (fn. 48) Alice, widow of Robert de Beauchamp of Somerset (d. 1263), claimed that James the father had granted Horseheath to her, probably c. 1263, and in 1278 William released the manor to her and her son James. (fn. 49) Alice, who held c. 400 a. in demesne there in 1279, died after 1282, (fn. 50) and her son James in or before 1286. (fn. 51) He had apparently taken the name of Audley, and left as heir an infant son James. (fn. 52) In 1302 and 1305 the manor was occupied by Hugh de Audley, youngest son of James (d. 1272), (fn. 53) but by 1313 had reverted to Alice's grandson James, (fn. 54) who held it until his death c. 1335. (fn. 55) James's widow Margaret held it between 1336 and c. 1362. (fn. 56) His son and heir William Audley died, probably in 1365, without issue, and William's brother and heir Thomas (fn. 57) in 1372, leaving a son James, (fn. 58) who died young. Horseheath passed, probably in 1378, to Thomas's daughter Elizabeth, who in 1384 entered upon it with her husband John Rose (fn. 59) and in 1387 agreed to its settlement for life on her former guardian John Sibill (d. 1392) and his wife Joan. (fn. 60) By 1395 it was occupied by Sir Philip Sinclair, claiming as great-grandson of James Audley (d. c. 1335) (fn. 61) and in 1397 it was bought for William Alington. (fn. 62) Alington's descendants retained it until 1700, and had acquired the other manors in Horseheath by 1550. After 1600 they were therefore said to possess the manors of Horseheath Hall, Carbonells, Bowerhall, Limburys, Jacobs, and Goodredges. (fn. 63)
William Alington, Speaker in 1429, (fn. 64) died in 1446. His eldest son William (fn. 65) was succeeded in 1459 by his son John (fn. 66) (d. 1480). John's son and heir William (fn. 67) was killed at Bosworth in 1485, leaving a son Giles aged two, during whose minority his mother Elizabeth and her second husband William Cheyne held the estates as lessees. (fn. 68) Giles, knighted by 1513, died in 1521, and was succeeded by his son Giles, (fn. 69) knighted by 1541. (fn. 70) Sir Giles was succeeded in 1586 by his great-grandson Giles Alington. (fn. 71) Sir Giles, knighted in 1603, died in 1638, when his heir was his eldest surviving son William, (fn. 72) who received an Irish barony in 1642 and died in 1648. Lord Alington's elder son Giles died under age in 1660, when his heir was his younger brother William, created an English baron in 1682. (fn. 73) William died in 1685 and Giles, his only son, died under age and without issue in 1691. In 1700, following a long Chancery suit, a 500-year term in the Horseheath estate, which had been entailed on William's brother Hildebrand, Lord Alington (d.s.p. 1722), (fn. 74) was sold to meet the large portions bequeathed by William to his daughters Juliana, Diana, and Katherine, who between 1700 and 1705 released their reversionary interests to the purchaser John Bromley, (fn. 75) a Barbados sugar-planter.
Bromley died in 1707, having settled Horseheath on his son John. Father and son were both M.P.s for the county. (fn. 76) The younger John died in 1718. His son and heir Henry, (fn. 77) then under age, was M.P. for Cambridgeshire from 1727 to 1741, when he was created Lord Montfort, and on his suicide in 1755 was succeeded by his son Thomas. The extravagance of Henry and Thomas (fn. 78) caused the sale of the estate, (fn. 79) which was bought in 1777 by Stanlake Batson. (fn. 80) Batson died in 1812, and was succeeded by his son and namesake (fn. 81) (d. 1857), whose son Stanlake Ricketts Batson died in 1871. The latter's eldest son Stanlake Henry Batson in 1884, while still under age, alienated his life-interest in order to pay his debts. (fn. 82) He withdrew to New Zealand and died in 1921. In 1925 his son S. P. R. Batson sold the whole estate to T. Wayman Parsons, a longestablished local farmer. (fn. 83) Parsons sold off much land the same year, and after his death in 1942 his executors sold more. (fn. 84) His sons A. C. and H. W. Parsons died in 1950 and 1969 respectively. (fn. 85) The largest fragment of the estate belonged in 1975 to Mr. T. Cornish of Horseheath Park. (fn. 86)
The original manor-house of the Audley manor probably stood east of the village, near the Hall or Hallgate field recorded in the 14th and 15th centuries. (fn. 87) Elizabeth I stayed there in 1578. (fn. 88) Horseheath Hall was rebuilt between 1663 and 1665 by William, Lord Alington, to a design by Sir Roger Pratt. (fn. 89) The new house, of red brick, faced east and west on the highest ground in the park. The main block, of two storeys on a basement, had ten bays including a three-bay pediment to the west. The balustraded roof was surmounted by an octagonal cupola, topped by a gilded ball brought back from the siege of Boulogne in 1544. Single-storey ranges to north and south contained the stables and offices, forming a 500-ft. frontage. John Bromley (d. 1718) began alterations to the house and garden, (fn. 90) and his son Henry spent lavishly, employing William Kent on the interior and the gardens. Henry's son Thomas added an orangery in 1762. The furniture and paintings were sold in 1775, and all the remaining contents in 1777. (fn. 91) The empty shell was mostly demolished in 1792, (fn. 92) and no visible trace remained in 1940, except for an overgrown ornamental pond north of the site. Wrought-iron gates of c. 1670 from the Hall survive at Trinity and St. John's colleges, Cambridge, and at Cheveley rectory. (fn. 93) Bricks from the Hall were used in neighbouring houses, including the foundations of Horseheath Lodge, on the former heath at the western edge of the parish, which Stanlake Batson (d. 1857) built as his local residence between 1816 and 1825. (fn. 94) The Lodge was sold in 1948 to Sir Arthur Marshall, who owned it in 1975. (fn. 95) By 1851 a farm-house called Horseheath Park had been built south-east of the site of the Hall. (fn. 96)
In 1448 William Alington (d. 1459) was licensed to impark 320 a. at Horseheath. (fn. 97) In 1550 Sir Giles Alington obtained leave to convert into a deer-park another 400 a. of enclosed grass and woodland in Horseheath, West Wickham, and Withersfield (Suff.), (fn. 98) which was later known as the great park in contrast to the old park. (fn. 99) About 1770 the whole park covered 740 a., of which half was in Horseheath parish. (fn. 100) It was disparked after the Hall had been demolished. (fn. 101)
In 1279 much land in Horseheath depended on 2 fees held of the earl of Oxford under the honor of Richmond in West Wickham parish, c. 80 a. being held of Sir Emery Pecche's manor, later Bernhams, and c. 270 a. of Stephen de la Haye's, later Layes. (fn. 102) Both fees eventually passed to the Alingtons. (fn. 103) By 1279 the la Haye land in Horseheath was divided into three estates, the largest being the later BOWERHALL manor. Probably before 1200 Mauger son of Reyner held of Stephen de la Haye land at Wickham and Horseheath (fn. 104) which Stephen's son Walter granted to Mauger's son Reyner (fn. 105) (d. after 1245). (fn. 106) Reyner's eldest son Geoffrey of Horseheath (fl. 1257) (fn. 107) or Geoffrey's son Geoffrey (fl. from 1280) (fn. 108) held over 160 a. in demesne under Stephen de la Haye in 1279. (fn. 109) The younger Geoffrey was in possession in 1307. (fn. 110) His son and successor Geoffrey, in possession in 1343, had died by 1348, having settled the estate on his wife Joan for life, then on their daughter Elizabeth, wife of John atte Boure of West Wickham. (fn. 111) John (fl. 133149) (fn. 112) was succeeded by Thomas atte Boure (fl. 135296) (fn. 113) and Thomas by his son and heir Robert atte Boure (fl. 13901410). (fn. 114) Robert's successor, Thomas atte Boure (fl. 142546), was dead by 1457, (fn. 115) leaving as coheirs two daughters, Margaret, wife of John Wimbold, and Joan, wife of Richard Methwold (d. 1485). By 1470 the manor was in two moieties. (fn. 116) In 1499, after Margaret's death, Wimbold released the reversion of her moiety to Joan's son Richard (fn. 117) (d. 1512), whose son and heir William Methwold (fn. 118) sold his manor of Bowerhall with 200 a. of arable in 1529 to Sir Giles Alington (fn. 119) (d. 1586), with whose estate it thenceforth passed.
Another 112 a., including 76 a. depending on the la Haye fee and held under Alice de Beauchamp, belonged in 1279 to Nicholas, (fn. 120) son of Adam Mersey. (fn. 121) Nicholas (d. by 1294) was succeeded by his son Nicholas (fl. 1348); (fn. 122) c. 1405 Robert Segyn released the Horseheath lands of his uncle John Mersey to feoffees, perhaps for William Goodred. New feoffees in 1425 included William Alington (d. 1459), to whom the estate was released in 1447. (fn. 123)
About 1200 Stephen and Walter de la Haye and others gave c. 20 a. to Walden abbey (Essex). In 1279 the abbey held 12 a. of the la Haye fee, and c. 1375 18 a., all let for quit-rents by 1279. (fn. 124)
Besides the land which they held of the honor of Richmond the Veres inherited 1 hide, owned in 1066 by the thegn Wulfwin, which Aubrey de Vere (d. c. 1112) had held in chief at Horseheath in 1086, and Norman of Nosterfield under him. (fn. 125) Probably by 1200 it had been subinfeudated and divided. One part was probably held c. 1235 by William Barbedor, (fn. 126) who after 1263 granted it in survivorship to Sir James de Audley (d. 1272) and Alice de Beauchamp and their heirs. (fn. 127) After James's death Alice granted it for life to Robert de Plessy, who held 80 a. of her in demesne in 1279. (fn. 128) Robert died in 1294. (fn. 129) William Befold, who had by 1289 acquired c. 50 a. of the land, later granted them to Alan Osmond, whose daughter and heir Alice married William le Harper. (fn. 130) In 1310 Harper acquired the quit-rents arising from the Bernham fee in Horseheath (fn. 131) and in 1311 held over 115 a. His son John, (fn. 132) who was holding BARBEDORS for life in 1336, died before his father, who died c. 1347 having entailed c. 130 a. on Richard son of Henry of Wykes. (fn. 133) In 1355 Wykes's feoffees released 55 a. of Barbedors to William Audley, who had claimed it as Alice de Beauchamp's heir in 1342. (fn. 134) The other Harper lands perhaps passed to Peter Carbonel of Cambridge (fl. 134671), (fn. 135) who owned land at Horseheath in 1359. (fn. 136) In 1434 Thomas Carbonel sold his manor of CARBONELLS there to Bartholomew and John Breanson (fn. 137) or Bremsham. About 1450 John Bremsham held of the earl of Oxford land at Horseheath once William le Harper's. (fn. 138) In 1486 William Bremsham released 200 a. called Carbonells and Stysteds to Richard Gardiner, alderman of London, (fn. 139) who in 1489 left 210 a. to his infant daughter Mary. Mary married Giles Alington (d. 1521), her father's former ward, (fn. 140) and Carbonells, usually styled a manor, descended with the Alington estate, its demesne arable remaining distinct in 1615. (fn. 141) After 1700 the name was corrupted to Cardinals. About 1770 Cardinals farm covered 207 a., of which all but 12 a. lay in Shudy Camps parish. The farm-house, between two ancient moats in a tongue of land reaching into that parish, was a substantial 17th-century, timber-framed house; it was derelict by 1924 and had been demolished by 1975. (fn. 142)
About 1200 Hubert le Poor held 1 fee at Horseheath, possibly of the Veres, (fn. 143) and Henry le Poor was suing for 1 carucate and a mill there in 1226. (fn. 144) In 1279 Baldwin le Poor held 1 fee as mesne lord under the earl of Oxford. (fn. 145) About 1210 Stephen of Oxford, apparently a vassal of the Veres, held land worth 2 a year, probably by order of King John, (fn. 146) who in 1215 transferred its possession to Bevis de Knoville. (fn. 147) Bevis, who held 1 carucate at Horseheath in 1229, (fn. 148) was a knight of the earls Marshal, and had his Cambridgeshire land restored in 1234 after Earl Richard's revolt. (fn. 149) Later he probably granted it to the earl Marshal, who subinfeudated it to Ralph de Vautort. (fn. 150) In 1245 Vautort granted to William of Horseheath (d. after 1260) 80 a. and a mill there, (fn. 151) which William's son John held in 1279, with four mesne lords between himself and the earl of Oxford, (fn. 152) and sold in and after 1280 to Alice de Beauchamp. (fn. 153)
A third Vere fee was LIMBURYS manor, originally held by service of holding the earl of Oxford's stirrup when he mounted his palfrey. (fn. 154) It probably belonged to Walter Limbury (fl. 124063), whose widow Elizabeth (fn. 155) held 60 a. in demesne in 1279 and 1282 as fee. (fn. 156) By 1298 it had descended to Walter's son John, (fn. 157) and he or a John Limbury the younger (fl. from 1312) (fn. 158) held it until he died c. 1336. (fn. 159) John's heir, Sir Philip Limbury, held the manor in 1346, (fn. 160) and in 1367 died on pilgrimage, leaving as heir a son Philip (fn. 161) who died under age. Sir Philip's widow Joan held the manor for life with her second husband Sir John Clinton. (fn. 162) When she died in 1388 80 a. of demesne descended to Sir Philip's daughter Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Trivet. (fn. 163) Trivet died the same year (fn. 164) and Elizabeth in 1433, when she had no traceable heirs. (fn. 165) The manor came into the hands of her executor, the Chancery clerk Nicholas Wimbish, (fn. 166) who sold it in 1453 to William Alington (d. 1459). (fn. 167) Its lands lay around an ancient moated site at Limberhurst Farm at the east end of the parish. (fn. 168)
The largest manor not held of the Veres was derived from hide occupied in 1086 by 5 villani of Hardwin de Scalers. (fn. 169) Its overlordship passed to Hardwin's son Richard with the half-barony of Shelford, (fn. 170) and in 1282 it was held of Richard's heir Richard de Freville. (fn. 171) The tenants in demesne were the Scalers family of Babraham. (fn. 172) Geoffrey de Sealers (d. by 1202) left as heir his son Geoffrey (fn. 173) (d. by 1249) whose eldest son Alexander (fn. 174) granted the manor by 1250 to Waltham abbey (Essex). The abbey was granted free warren there in 1253 and held 220 a. in demesne in 1279. (fn. 175) In 1350 it granted the manor to Sir John Shardelowe, (fn. 176) with whose manor in Shudy Camps the land was given in 1392 to Thompson college (Norf.). Half of the college's estate was eventually bought in 1640 by William, later Lord Alington, and under the name of SHARDELOWES ALINGTONS passed by marriage through the Seymours to the Finches, earls of Aylesford. (fn. 177) On the death of Heneage Finch, earl of Aylesford, in 1812, his trustees sold the Horseheath land, c. 57 a., to Stanlake Batson. (fn. 178)
In 1086 Ulveva held yardland of Richard son of Gilbert, (fn. 179) of whose descendants the Clares, later earls of Gloucester, a fee at Horseheath was held until the 14th century. (fn. 180) When the Clare barony was divided after 1314, the Horseheath fee was assigned to Margaret, wife of Hugh Audley (d. 1347), whose daughter and heir Margaret brought the overlordship to the earls of Stafford. (fn. 181) About 1200 the fee was held by Geoffrey son of Richard, (fn. 182) (d. by 1236), (fn. 183) who was probably succeeded by Henry son of Geoffrey (fl. 124770). (fn. 184) In 1279 William son of Henry held of the earl of Gloucester 80 a. in demesne, (fn. 185) which by 1284 had passed to his brother Michael, tenant in 1302. (fn. 186) Michael's son Richard of Horseheath had the estate between 1307 and 1343, (fn. 187) and Richard's son William held it as knight's fee in 1346, dying after 1361. (fn. 188) It later passed to the Goodred family. William Goodred the elder (fl. 13841418 or 1424) (fn. 189) was succeeded by William Goodred the younger (fl. 141047) (fn. 190) who held it in 1428. (fn. 191) Part of his lands belonged by 1457 to Hugh Jacob (fl. 144877), (fn. 192) whose son and heir William (d. 1508) left his Horseheath lands to his youngest son Robert (d. 1518). (fn. 193) In 1544 Richard Jacob sold GOODREDS manor to Sir Giles Alington with his ancestral lands, (fn. 194) themselves by 1640 described as JACOBS manor. (fn. 195)
Land at Horseheath and West Wickham belonging to John Eyre (fl. 144676) passed to his son William. In 1505 William sold c. 100 a. there to certain fellows of Pembroke College, Cambridge, who conveyed the land to the college in 1510. (fn. 196) Pembroke retained 117 a., including 29 a. in Shudy Camps and 24 a. in West Wickham, (fn. 197) until 1877 when it sold 66 a. in Horseheath to S. R. Batson's executors. (fn. 198) Its farm-house may have stood within a moat east of the road to West Wickham. By 1610 a new farmhouse, timber-framed and thatched, had been built west of the road. (fn. 199) It had been demolished by 1975.
Of the ten plough-lands at Horseheath in 1086 five belonged to Count Alan's manor and three to Aubrey de Vere's. There were more than 15 villani and 9 bordars, besides 3 servi on Aubrey's estate. The values set on the manors had, at 9 10s., been restored to those of 1066. (fn. 200) In 1279 c. 1,085 a. out of 1,755 a. recorded belonged to the demesnes of seven manors. The largest were those of Alice de Beauchamp, occupying 401 a., Waltham abbey with 234 a., and Geoffrey of Horseheath with 172 a. No other lord had over 80 a. of arable. Seven freeholders with 20 a. or more held c. 267 a., another 28 with 10 a. or less had c. 100 a., and 15 others only their messuages. All but one of the villeins were on Alice de Beauchamp's manor, where three held 20 a. and eleven 10 a., besides three cottagers owing harvest-boons and reapingworks only. Most villeins had once owed 36 works between Michaelmas and Midsummer, and 22 from Midsummer to Michaelmas, while those with 20 a. had also to plough 4 a., and those with 10 a. had carried 2 cartloads of wheat from the outer fields during harvest. By 1279, however, some customary services had been reduced and some released. (fn. 201) In 1348 the Audley manor included only c. 115 a. of freeholdings, divided among 36 tenants, only 3 with over 10 a., compared with 548 a. of demesne and customary land. (fn. 202) The Alingtons and Bromleys, by buying up their tenants' land, eventually reduced the amount of copyhold to 8 a. in 1770. (fn. 203)
In 1279 there were c. 1,700 a. of arable, 19 a. of meadow, 14 a. of pasture, and 27 a. of wood. (fn. 204) In 1340 200 a. of arable were said to lie uncultivated. (fn. 205) Saffron was being grown at Horseheath c. 1525. (fn. 206) By 1600 the arable land was being cultivated in three seasons, the forecrop, aftercrop, and fallow. (fn. 207) There were more than three fields, however, Barchestrefield, Thorendune, Maplederndene, and Moriland, of uncertain location, being recorded c. 1200. (fn. 208) By the 16th century the land west of the village was divided into seven open fields. (fn. 209) Along the northern edge of the parish lay Bokedale, (fn. 210) later Bowdale field or valley, (fn. 211) renamed by 1770 Valley field, and west of it Elmdon, later Emden valley or field, (fn. 212) covering together 228 a. Southwards across the turnpike road lay Wormwood field, (fn. 213) (66 a.), and west of it the Mill field (fn. 214) (124 a.), occasionally called Horseheath field. (fn. 215) Stone field (fn. 216) (179 a.) stretched south-west from Mill field to the Bartlow boundary. East of it, by the southern boundary, were Chalksley field (fn. 217) (89 a.), perhaps the Chalk field recorded in 1313, (fn. 218) and Toppesbroc, (fn. 219) later Tosbrook, (fn. 220) field (52 a.). Along the western edge of the parish lay the eponymous horse heath, of which 92 a. remained in 1769 and c. 75 a. in 1839. North of it were sheeppens covering 22 a. (fn. 221)
The higher ground east of the village may even before it was imparked in the mid 15th century have been mainly demesne land lying in severalty. Names such as Limbury's field (fn. 222) and Boure field (fn. 223) suggest the property of a single landowner. An arable strip in the Hall field c. 1325 had demesne land on both sides, (fn. 224) and William Alington (d. 1459), who was buying arable in Hallgate field in 1449, (fn. 225) had lately annexed various crofts to his park. (fn. 226) Thomas atte Boure's Longcroft, including woodland, which adjoined a demesne field in 1443, (fn. 227) had similarly by 1484 been included in the park. (fn. 228) In 1770 the land which had escaped imparking, lying south of the road, was entirely in severalty with no trace of open fields. Its eastern end had since 1450 at least (fn. 229) been occupied by the wholly inclosed Limburys manor farm, covering 160 a. in 1726. (fn. 230)
In 1086 two flocks at Horseheath contained 136 sheep. (fn. 231) In 1347 the village supplied 85 stone of wool to the Crown, of which 32 stone came from six manorial flocks. (fn. 232) William le Harper recovered in 1341 a fold-course, apparently belonging to Barbedors fee. (fn. 233) Bowerhall manor, for which 300 sheep were kept in the 15th century, (fn. 234) also enjoyed rights of fold-course in 1530. (fn. 235) Later the largest flocks were on the Alington estate farms. In 1558 a lessee left his wife 80 wethers. (fn. 236) William, Lord Alington (d. 1684), kept flocks of ewes and wethers. (fn. 237) Later the Bromleys sometimes kept the right of sheep-walk in hand. (fn. 238) In 1783 Manor farm was said to include an unstinted right of sheep-walk. (fn. 239)
The Alingtons and their successors dominated the parish economically from the early 16th century. In 1524 Giles Alington was taxed on 88 out of the 170 then assessed upon it, only two others having goods taxed even at 10, while 21 out of 35 taxpayers paid only on 1. (fn. 240) Of 52 houses taxed in 1664 only five apart from the Hall and rectory had more than 4 hearths, and 24 had only one. (fn. 241) During the 17th century the Alingtons, owning all the manors but one, added to their demesnes by buying up the remaining freehold and copyhold properties. Of 105 strips bordering Pembroke College land the Alington estate included 61 in 1610, 80 in 1703, and c. 90 in 1788; 10 of the remainder belonged to Shardelowes Alingtons and the rectory. (fn. 242) By 1770 Lord Montfort possessed all but 37 strips in the open fields, the Bromleys having held the Pembroke property on lease since the 1730s. Indeed, his estate comprised all the farm-land in the parish except 126 a., of which 59 a. belonged to Shardelowes and 22 a. were glebe; eight owners shared the rest. (fn. 243) By 1839, having bought Shardelowes in 1813 and acquired the rector's open-field land by exchange in 1829, (fn. 244) Stanlake Batson owned all the open fields except for Pembroke's strips, which were leased to him, and possessed all but 33 a. of c. 1,800 a. then recorded in the parish. Consequently there was no need for a formal inclosure award or agreement for the remaining 700 a. of nominally open fields, (fn. 245) where Batson's farmers had already ploughed away most of the balks by the 1820s. (fn. 246)
In 1726 the Horseheath Hall estate included, besides the park, 1,000 a. of farm-land in the parish, divided among five farms of over 150 a. (fn. 247) In 1770 Limberhurst farm lying south of the park covered 275 a., besides 53 a. in Shudy Camps, and included near the main road 40 a. of meadow, whose name, Broad Green, suggests that it may once have been a common pasture. (fn. 248) In 1610 Pembroke College had been entitled to mow 12 a. of meadow, later part of that farm, but the right to pasture over them belonged to the Alingtons. (fn. 249) The open fields to the west were in 1770 divided into three farms by old field-boundaries and were farmed from three farmsteads: Church Farm, opposite the church, had 255 a., including the two northern fields; Manor Farm just south of the village had c. 430 a., including Wormwood, Mill, and Stone fields, together 326 a.; and Lower Cardinals farm, by the Shudy Camps road, covered 268 a., including the 128 a. of Tosbrook and Chalksley fields and 53 a. in Shudy Camps parish. Those farms also had between them c. 190 a. of inclosed pastures around the village. Heath farm at the western end of Horseheath had c. 245 a., including 44 a. in Bartlow, some inclosed arable, and the 92 a. of heath later converted into the grounds of Horseheath Lodge. Altogether the estate then included c. 310 a. of grass, c. 250 a. of inclosed arable, and c. 700 a. of open-field arable. (fn. 250) From 1776 the park was let out for grazing cattle. (fn. 251) Later its western third was added to Church farm and ploughed up, while the remainder, mostly left under grass, became Park farm. (fn. 252)
In 1801 Horseheath still grew mainly the traditional crops, apparently preserving a triennial rotation. Of 767 a. then cultivated there were 190 a. of wheat, 240 a. of barley, 156 a. of oats, and 136 a. of pease and beans, but only 45 a. of turnips and potatoes. (fn. 253) In 1806 sainfoin was being grown on the fallow. (fn. 254) By 1839 the parish followed a four-course rotation. Of 1,250 a. of arable 300 a. each were under wheat, clover and beans, barley, and turnips. There were also 503 a. of permanent grass and 29 a. of wood and waste. (fn. 255) The area under grass later decreased. In 1905 there were said to be only 262 a. of it compared with 1,875 a. of arable. (fn. 256) Of 700 a. offered for sale from the Horseheath estate in 1925 195 a., including 115 a. of Park farm, were under grass. (fn. 257) Considerable sheep flocks were still kept: there were 4 shepherds in 1851 and 7 in 1871, (fn. 258) and Manor farm had 700 sheep in 1894. (fn. 259)
Horseheath continued to be divided among the same five or six large farms until the Batsons' estate was sold in 1925. In 1871 five substantial farmers together occupied well over 3,100 a., including land outside the parish. William Purkis, tenant by 1861 of Sherwood Green farm, alone farmed 1,280 a. (fn. 260) Christopher Parsons occupied Manor farm (350 a.) from c. 1869 until his death in 1905. His son T. W. Parsons was farming Church farm (470 a.) by 1892 and Park farm (440 a. in 1925) by 1904, and eventually bought the estate. (fn. 261) In 1937 he occupied two out of the six farms in the parish. (fn. 262) Much land that had been put under grass, including most of the park, was reconverted to arable during the Second World War. (fn. 263)
Horseheath seldom had many craftsmen. In 1279 the villagers included two smiths and a carpenter. (fn. 264) A lime-pit was recorded in 1313, and a lime-kiln in 1608, (fn. 265) which in 1615 probably stood in the area at the north-west corner of the parish called in 1773 Limekiln field. (fn. 266) One of two tanners recorded in the 1630s had property of c. 20 a. and over 165. (fn. 267) In 1705 the estate included a smithy, (fn. 268) probably one of two standing by the village green in 1839. (fn. 269) In 1811 72 families depended on agriculture and only 10 on crafts and trades; in 1831 the corresponding figures were 62 and 35. (fn. 270) There were then 49 adult farm-labourers and 18 more under 20, all in employment. In 1830 they demonstrated for higher wages than their 10s. a week. (fn. 271) The farms employed 116 men and boys in 1851, and 164 in 1871, when William Purkis had 52 labourers and Park farm 53, but many of them lived outside the parish, where only c. 70 dwelt in the mid 19th century. (fn. 272) In the 1860s many girls also worked at home on 'slop-work' from Haverhill (Suff.). (fn. 273) The village in 1861 had 3 smiths, 2 carpenters, 2 wheelwrights, and 3 tailors, (fn. 274) but most of them had disappeared by 1900; one smithy was still working in 1937, when there was also a builder's firm. (fn. 275) Owing to the isolation of the village, local employment remained almost entirely in farming until the 1960s. Some residents by then worked at Haverhill or Linton, or even Cambridge. (fn. 276) Of three village shops recorded c. 1870, only one remained by 1937. (fn. 277)
By 1226 there was a windmill at Horseheath, (fn. 278) probably the one acquired c. 1280 by Alice de Beauchamp, (fn. 279) who already owned another in 1279, when there were three millers there. (fn. 280) Perhaps by 1295 a windmill stood mile west of the village just north of the way dividing Bokedale from Mill field. (fn. 281) It was apparently that acquired from Geoffrey of Horseheath by Sir James Audley in 1332, (fn. 282) which remained attached to the principal estate until the 20th century. (fn. 283) It remained in use for grinding corn throughout the 19th century, being managed successively by the Turner and Hymus families. Probably disused from soon after 1900, (fn. 284) it was demolished c. 1924. (fn. 285)
In 1279 Alice de Beauchamp had view of frankpledge. (fn. 286) Under James I Sir Giles Alington held a view of frankpledge and court baron at intervals of two years, which dealt with road maintenance and encroachments by ploughing on ways and balks, handled transfers of copyhold, and elected constables. Minutes survive for 1606, 1608, and 1610. (fn. 287)
A building by the green rented from the Horseheath estate as a poorhouse had been demolished by 1839. (fn. 288) The cost of poor-relief rose fivefold from 82 in 1776 to 428 in 1813; 27 people were permanently supported by the parish in 1803, and 15 in 1813. (fn. 289) From a peak of 456 in 1819 expenditure was reduced to 188 in 1834. (fn. 290) In 1830 large families were receiving allowances from the rates. (fn. 291) The parish became part of the Linton poor-law union in 1835, (fn. 292) was incorporated in 1934 into the South Cambridgeshire R.D., (fn. 293) and was included in 1974 in South Cambridgeshire.
There is architectural evidence of a church at Horseheath in the 12th century. Rectors are recorded from 1234. (fn. 294) In 1279 the advowson of the rectory belonged to the earl of Oxford. (fn. 295) In 1371 Elizabeth, widow of John, eldest son of Earl John (d. 1360), released a life-interest in the advowson, settled on her in 1342, to John's younger son Aubrey, later 10th earl. (fn. 296) The patronage remained with the Veres until after 1600; (fn. 297) during the forfeiture of Earl John between 1471 and 1485 it was exercised by Richard, duke of Gloucester, grantee of the earl's Cambridgeshire lands. (fn. 298) In 1589 Philip Mynott's executors presented for one turn, (fn. 299) probably by grant of Earl Edward (d. 1604). The advowson was attributed to Edward's heir male, Robert, earl of Oxford, at his death in 1632. (fn. 300) Between 1669 and 1694 and in 1815 it was formally conveyed, apparently with the former Vere manor of Swaffham Bulbeck, in the Marsh and Parker Hamond families, owners of Pampisford, (fn. 301) who never attempted, however, to present to Horseheath. Thomas Wakefield, rector 15891626, had in 1626 devised the advowson to a kinsman who was to present Thomas's son Thomas, (fn. 302) rector 162669. The advowson belonged in 1669 to the Charterhouse, whose governors presented all rectors thenceforth (fn. 303) and were patrons in 1973. (fn. 304)
In 1268 Waltham abbey claimed the tithes of its demesne in Horseheath, (fn. 305) later Shardelowes manor. The tithes apparently passed with the abbey's rectory of Shudy Camps in 1546 to Trinity College, Cambridge, which until 1839 received rectorial tithes from 66 a., once part of Shardelowes, the small tithes going to the vicar of Shudy Camps. (fn. 306) In 1313 the rector of Horseheath unsuccessfully claimed tithes from Westoe fee in Castle and Shudy Camps. (fn. 307)
The rectory was taxed at c. 15 marks in 1254 and 1291, (fn. 308) and at 20 marks in 1535. (fn. 309) In 1650 it was worth 100 a year, and in 1728 130. (fn. 310) The rector's income was 347 net c. 1830 before tithe commutation, and 410 in 1877. (fn. 311) Tithes in 1692 had mostly been payable in kind; fixed sums were due from the windmill and the old park. (fn. 312) In 1782 part of the park was covered by a modus of 5 13s. 4d., but 356 a. were found to owe tithes in kind valued at 2s. an acre. (fn. 313) The tithes were worth 125 in 1758 and 381 in 1826. (fn. 314) They were commuted in 1839 for a tithe-rent-charge of 452 18s., including 14 15s. assigned to Trinity College and the incumbents of Castle and Shudy Camps. (fn. 315) The tithe barn standing north of the churchyard was demolished in 1881. (fn. 316)
The church was endowed with a messuage and 26 a. in 1279, (fn. 317) and had c. 22 a. of glebe in 1574, 1662, and 1770. (fn. 318) In 1829 the rector exchanged his 19 a. of open-field land for 11 a. of closes north of the rectory house, (fn. 319) where he still owned 15 a. in 1911 and 1973. (fn. 320) In 1416 William Goodred gave 3 roods so that the rectory home close could be enlarged. (fn. 321) The parsonage house, standing by the churchyard, was regularly recorded between 1615 and 1692. (fn. 322) Edward Basset, rector 170932, built on the old site an 'exceeding good' rectorial house. (fn. 323) It is of three wide bays, timber-framed and plastered, with sash windows and a hipped tiled roof with dormers. It was extensively repaired c. 1830, and c. 1850 a drawing room was added. (fn. 324)
Rectors presented in 1349 and 1386 obtained licences for non-residence in 1352 and 1390 respectively. (fn. 327) A chaplain, probably parochial, and two clerks were recorded at Horseheath in 1378, (fn. 328) and another chaplain in 1487. (fn. 329) In 1542 Sir Giles Alington was employing and paying a stipendiary priest. (fn. 330) William Masterson, rector 1518c. 1556, had regularly resided until the 1540s, (fn. 331) but his successor Thomas White, 155789, lived with his patron the earl of Oxford in 1561, (fn. 332) and later served the living through curates. (fn. 333)
The Wakefields, father and son, incumbents between 1589 and 1668, both lived in the parish. They possibly had puritan tendencies: each was presented, in 1591 and 1638 respectively, for not wearing the surplice. The younger Thomas, who had a puritan as curate, was also said to have failed to observe some holy days, and to publish the king's book of sports. (fn. 334) In 1650 he was commended as an orthodox and godly divine. (fn. 335) From 1669 the Charterhouse, in accordance with its statutes, normally presented former scholars of its foundation. (fn. 336) The 18th-century rectors were all well educated, and, holding no other livings, were mostly resident, although Thomas Rowell, 17327, lived mainly in London (fn. 337) and John Maule, 17761825, spent half of every year at Greenwich Hospital where he was a chaplain. (fn. 338) There were only seven incumbents in the 18th century and six in the 19th. (fn. 339) In 1728 the rector held services not only twice every Sunday but on holy days and on weekdays in Lent; (fn. 340) by 1775 there was only one Sunday service. (fn. 341) Only c. 8 people attended communion in 1807, but 2030 in 1825, when there were again two Sunday services, and 3540 by 1836. Although all 300 sittings were free in 1836, disputed pews were allotted to those who paid the largest rates. (fn. 342) In 1851 the average Sunday attendance at church was 64. (fn. 343) In 1877, although there were said to be 250 church-goers, only c. 25 regularly attended the monthly communions; some men went instead to Shudy Camps. (fn. 344) The smallness and isolation of the parish made the living less attractive after 1900, and there were ten rectors between 1910 and 1973. From 1918 to 1923 Horseheath was held with Castle Camps, from 1946 to 1973 with Bartlow, and from 1973 with West Wickham. (fn. 345)
The church of ALL SAINTS, so called in 1508, (fn. 346) comprises a chancel, aisleless nave with north and south porches, and west tower, and is built of field stones with ashlar dressings. It was substantially rebuilt in the 14th century and later, although the lowest storey of the tower has thick walling, possibly of the 13th century, and the external walls incorporate pieces of Barnack stone carved with chevrons indicative of a 12th-century building. The 14thcentury work includes the west window with Decorated tracery, the upper storeys of the tower with set back buttresses, the triple-chamfered tower arch, the chancel arch, whose responds were possibly recut later, and the two-bay chancel, whose two-light side-windows have curvilinear tracery. The threelight east window may have replaced a group of three lancets. The four-bay nave was remodelled in the late 15th or early 16th century, the walls being heightened to accommodate tall three-light windows. The windows once contained armorial glass recording the Alingtons' marriage alliances between 1430 and 1500, (fn. 347) and money was left for the 'battlement' of the church in 1524. (fn. 348) The nave has a blocked north doorway to the rood stair with floral carving in its spandrels. The south porch is 15th-century. The north porch, built of brick in the 16th century, had been converted by 1742 to a vestry. (fn. 349) The octagonal font is Perpendicular. The 15th-century rood-screen, of five bays with panelled tracery, was repaired in 1721. (fn. 350) The 15th-century nave roof, which has moulded beams and some bosses, was repaired in 1764. (fn. 351)
In the chancel a brass of a knight in 14th-century armour may be that of William Audley (d. 1365) whose family arms were once in a chancel window, and in the floor were formerly various brasses to members of the Alington family, dated between 1429 and 1552. (fn. 352) Against the south wall is the monument erected by Sir Giles Alington (d. 1586) to himself and his father Sir Giles (d. 1521), of two tiers, each with an effigy, supported by bulbous columns. The upper canopy was removed after 1742. (fn. 353) Against the north wall the recumbent effigies of Sir Giles Alington (d. 1638) and his wife Dorothy (d. 1613) lie on a tomb-chest surrounded by their twelve children; (fn. 354) the work is ascribed to Nicholas Stone.
The church was usually kept in decent repair between the 16th century and the 18th. (fn. 355) In 1644 William Dowsing broke 8 figures of Christ and the prophets, and destroyed over 40 pictured windows, although a little figured glass survived in the nave in 1742. (fn. 356) A new pulpit, against the north wall, was put up between 1728 and 1742, by which time a west gallery, blocking the tower arch, had been built for the singers. The whole interior was then painted with scriptural texts and garlands supported by angels, and the chancel ceiling plastered with floral decorations. (fn. 357) The church was extensively repaired in the 1820s. (fn. 358) A thorough restoration was initiated in 1875, with R. R. Rowe as architect. (fn. 359) Between 1880 and 1883 the south wall and ceiling of the chancel were rebuilt. By 1891 the old pulpit, pews, and gallery had been cleared from the nave. The south porch was remodelled in 1894, (fn. 360) the stonework of the nave windows renewed in 1912, and the tower repaired in 1925. (fn. 361) An organ, bought from a Cambridge church, was installed in 1876, and a clock placed in the tower in 1897. (fn. 362)
In 1552 there were three bells in the tower. (fn. 363) A tenor bell given in 1606 by Sir Giles Alington was recast and two others were newly cast in 1699 and 1700 by Richard Keene of Royston. (fn. 364) There were five bells by 1742. Two were recast as one by Thomas Safford of Cambridge in 1825, and there were four bells in 1974. (fn. 365) The church acquired three chalices during the later Middle Ages, (fn. 366) and had two of silver in 1552. (fn. 367) About 1960 the plate included a silver cup and paten of 1666 and a flagon of 1715. (fn. 368) The extant registers begin in 1558 and are complete except for the Interregnum. (fn. 369)
Three people were presented in 1582 (fn. 370) and one in 1587, 1591, and 1601, for refusing to attend church. (fn. 371) At least 13 Quakers at Horseheath, some of whom attended meetings at Linton, were presented in the 1650s and 1660s for refusing to contribute to church repairs and burying their dead in private gardens. (fn. 372) In 1663 6 men and 5 women did not attend church. (fn. 373) In 1669 meetings attended by 50 or 60 people were held in a private house, (fn. 374) and 8 nonconformists at Horseheath were recorded in 1676. (fn. 375)
By 1728 there were 20 dissenters, described as Independents or Presbyterians, (fn. 376) and houses were registered for Independent worship in 1742 and 1749. (fn. 377) Six or seven dissenting families from Horseheath attended the chapel at Linton in 1783. (fn. 378) By 1807 there was a small Presbyterian meeting-house at Horseheath with monthly meetings, and by 1825 the congregation had grown to c. 100, including two of the principal farmers. (fn. 379) The meeting evidently did not survive in 1851. (fn. 380) Rooms were registered for worship in 1809 and 1835, (fn. 381) and by 1852 a small Primitive Methodist chapel of red brick had been built on the village street. (fn. 382) The rector in 1877 thought that not more than six people attended it, but in 1897 its congregation was estimated at a quarter of the population. (fn. 383) The chapel was still open in 1973.
Schoolmasters were licensed at Horseheath in 1609, 1610, and 1613, (fn. 384) and in 1663 the parish clerk served as schoolmaster. (fn. 385) In 1728 the lord of the manor supported a school for 30 children, (fn. 386) probably that which was reported in 1730 to be in association with the S.P.C.K. (fn. 387) The parish clerk in 1779 taught c. 10 children, (fn. 388) but there was no school at Horseheath in 1807. (fn. 389)
By 1818 a day-school with c. 25 pupils had been established, (fn. 390) and in 1833 there were three dayschools, besides a Sunday school started in 1821; 15 girls were taught at the rector's expense, and parents paid for 24 boys and 25 girls to be taught in two other schools. (fn. 391) T. C. Percival, rector 1825 48, built a brick and flint National school in the churchyard for boys and girls, (fn. 392) and c. 1850 there were five other small schools, including one supported by Stanlake Batson to teach 12 girls. (fn. 393) The curate in 1867 also taught a night-school in winter, attended by c. 25 people. (fn. 394) A new National school was built in 18745 by the main road, (fn. 395) and in 1876 the old school in the churchyard was demolished. (fn. 396) The National school in 1875 had c. 70 pupils, none paying over 1d. a week because of the poverty of the district. (fn. 397) There was also a private school with c. 30 pupils in 1877. (fn. 398) Attendance at the National school rose to c. 80 by 1907, but fell to 55 by 1936. (fn. 399) Senior pupils were transferred to Linton village college in 1937. (fn. 400) Horseheath junior school retained the old National school building in 1973.
Charities for the Poor.
Thomas Wakefield, rector 15891626, by will proved 1626 left 50 to buy land, the rent to be paid to the poor of the parish. (fn. 401) By 1630 9 a. had been purchased, and 2 10s. rent was received in 1668. (fn. 402) By 1783 rent was received from 5 a. in Balsham, (fn. 403) perhaps a separate benefaction but usually identified as Wakefield's charity. In 1837 the income of 6 was distributed to the poor at Christmas. A Scheme of 1936 amalgamated Wakefield's charity and the Balsham land with the Town Green charity. The income from the land in Balsham was to be used for the general benefit of poor parishioners.
Dorothy, widow of William, Lord Alington (d. 1685), by will proved 1702 gave 60 to buy land, the rent to provide bread each Sunday for the twelve poorest churchgoers in Horseheath. (fn. 404) The money so used in 1728 (fn. 405) may have come from 6 a. in Linton which was owned by trustees in 1783. (fn. 406) The income from the Linton land, 5 in 1837, was distributed in bread to the poor in 1863, (fn. 407) and provided weekly doles of bread to five poor widows in 1911. (fn. 408) In 1921 the Linton land was sold and 179 stock was added to the Wakefield charity.
The Town Green charity originated in a rentcharge of 5 which the lord of the manor gave in compensation for householders' common rights in 6 a. of the town green inclosed in his park. The income was given with that from the Balsham land in 1837, and in 1905 was divided among 90 householders. (fn. 409) In 1936 it was directed that the Town Green charity should be used for poor householders. The income of the three parochial charities in 1965 was 31.
John Offord at an unknown date gave 10, the interest to go to the poor, and in 1783 10s. a year was given to five poor widows. (fn. 410) The charity was lost in 1828 when a churchwarden absconded with the money. William Eedes, rector 16691709, left 10 to provide an income for the aged poor, (fn. 411) and in 1728 the interest on 30 was given annually to the poor; (fn. 412) no later evidence of either charity has been found.